ATLANTA (CN) – In round two in a bitter display of sibling rivalry among the children of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., Dexter King has sued his brother Martin Luther King III and his sister Bernice.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center For Nonviolent Change, of which Dexter King is chairman and COO, sued Martin and Bernice King in Fulton County Superior Court.
Martin and Bernice A. King sued their brother Dexter on July 10. They accused him of refusing to provide information about the operations, actions and financial affairs of their father’s estate.
While one of the goals of The King Center is to be “an agent of reconciliation,” the dealings of The King Center are a source of conflict, according to the complaint. Dexter King alleges that his brother and sister have used The King Center for their personal benefit and made decisions inconsistent with their fiduciary duties as members of the board of the civil rights organization.
King claims his brother and sister have personally benefited from The King Center in several ways. In December 2004, Bernice A. King co-organized a march with a local church in support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Although The King Center denied her permission to begin the march at King’s tomb, she lit a torch from the eternal flame at King’s tomb as a part of the march. The message of the march was “inconsistent with the philosophy of inclusiveness advocated by Dr. King during his lifetime,” the lawsuit states.
Earlier this year, Martin Luther King III met with former presidential candidate John Edwards at The King Center. After the meeting, King sent a letter to Edwards on letterhead for his foundation, Realizing the Dream, a competing foundation, and announced his support of Edwards.
Martin King III also “commandeered a reception being hosted on behalf of The King Center and turned it into his own wedding reception,” according to the complaint.
Also, Dexter King claims, Ford Motor Co. donated a 2004 Lincoln Navigator to The King Center and asked Martin King III to transfer the vehicle to the center, but he “retained it for his own use.” He allegedly concealed the donation from others at The King Center, and has not transferred the Navigator to The King Center or bought the vehicle from The King Center.
L. Lin Wood of Powell Goldstein LLP represents The King Center.